Syracuse Football is not a powerhouse. The Orange will not challenge Florida State, Clemson or Louisville at the top of the ACC, but surely, surely they can’t be the worst team in the ACC. Or can they?
Athlon Sports, as part of their countdown of the Top 128 teams in college football, released their ACC rankings and Syracuse was dead last. Coming off a dismal year, where the Orange finished tied for last in the conference with Wake Forest with a single conference win, it is understandable that some are critical of Shafer’s team.
All of the justification given makes sense.
Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer has his work cut out to improve on a 3–9 season. Margin for error will be slim with a new offensive system and eight new defensive starters. And with (now former) athletic director Daryl Gross choosing to “take on new challenges” following the NCAA’s handing down of sanctions in March, Shafer could be coaching for his job.
Syracuse’s recruiting class was nothing special and the teams around the Orange do seem to be getting better.
However, despite all of this, ranking Syracuse as the worst team in the ACC and the 85th best team in the nation seems harsh. Similar to a recent poll that looked at the ACC coaches, this poll looks more at the past than the present and future.
The Orange will have their experienced starting QB back in Terrel Hunt and with a full season for Tim Lester to implement his system, the offense is sure to improve.
Taking a look at the Orange’s schedule also should give the Orange faithful hope that their team won’t finish bottom of the conference. The Orange have four very winnable conference games. It is unlikely that Syracuse will beat every middle-of-the-road ACC team but there is nothing to suggest that the Orange cannot compete with the likes of Pitt, B.C. and N.C. State.
If the Orange were just able to figure out a way to score last season, they would have finished with four or five wins and this conversation wouldn’t even be happening. The pieces are there for this team to make a bowl, if a couple of things go their way.
Posted: Logan Grossman